I have always associated the journeys I go on with suitcases, rucksacks, packing up the car, getting on a flight and travelling to a new place. The journeys I have been on are physical experiences: backpacking in Peru, whitewater rafting in Brazil, jungle trekking in Ghana, walking the coastline in Thailand.
But more recently my journeys have become more internal. The journeys I have experienced in the last few years have been emotional journeys, personal journeys, journeys into my inner world, rather than journeys to experience the external world.
For me journeys have become a series of choices. As one door shuts, another door opens. As I take one step forward, I often take a step back and sometimes a step sideways.
My choices are decisive but I am agile, quick to pivot and adjust. No choices are finite, another choice can always be made to change directions mid-journey.
It is looking like my passport will be stamp free for 2020, which is most likely the first year where I have not physically travelled, but the emotional journey I have been on in the last few months has in fact been as impactful as any other journey I have experienced.
My journey has been one of thinking, reading, writing, talking and listening. A journey of being coached and of coaching others.
If anyone is feeling lost, I recommend having some coaching, I also recommend writing, be it blogging or journaling to process your thoughts and feelings. The act of putting pen to paper has become a sense making process for me.
Some of the choices I have made and the journey it has taken me on include:
June 2016 – I chose to accept a Headship and start a new school from scratch.
February 2017 – I chose to relocate to another part of the country.
April 2017 – I chose to become an Executive Headteacher of a second start-up school.
October 2017 – I chose to step-down from the #WomenEd steering group.
January 2018 – I chose to be the Co-Founder of #DiverseEd and create a new space.
January 2019 – I chose to buy a house down the road from the schools I led.
March 2019 – I chose to resign from Headship and walk away when my values were compromised.
June 2019 – I chose to go to South America for 2 months and find the silver lining.
September 2019 – I chose to take a demotion and a pay cut to work in a university.
October 2019 – I chose to share my story of Gardening Leave with other school leaders.
January 2020 – I chose to resign from the university role and seek a new opportunity.
March 2020 – I chose to go independent and work freelance, during a global pandemic!
April 2020 – I chose to train to be a coach and join a community of practice.
June 2020 – I chose to flip #DiverseEd into a virtual event and increase our reach.
July 2020 – I chose to pilot the #FastForwardDiversityInclusion webcast with Isa.
15 pivotal choices that have taken me on a fascinating journey and brought me to where I am today. For someone who usually has a life plan, a map, goals for where I am going to be and what I am going to be doing for the next 3-5 years I have gone with my gut and followed my heart for each decision.
The irony is that I am the happiest and the most at peace I have ever been. Throwing caution to the wind, tearing up the map, and journeying inwards rather than outwards has served me. The pause for Covid-19, the slower pace, the time and space I have had to reflect and explore have given me the opportunity to really think about Who I Am and What I Do.
My core values of Passion and Purpose have been woven together and my day job has become being paid to do what I love.